The acoustic performance of passive or active panel structures is usually tested in sound transmission loss facilities. A reverberant sending room, equipped with one or a number of independent sound sources, is used to generate a diffuse sound field excitation which acts as a disturbance source on the structure under investigation. The spatial correlation and coherence of such a synthesized non-ideal diffuse-sound-field excitation, however, might deviate significantly from the ideal case. This has consequences for the operation of an active feedforward control system which heavily relies on the acquisition of coherent disturbance source information. This work, therefore, evaluates the spatial correlation and coherence of ideal and non-ideal diffuse sound fields and considers the implications on the performance of a feedforward control system. The system under consideration is an aircraft-typical double panel system, equipped with an active sidewall panel (lining), which is realized in a transmission loss facility. Experimental results for different numbers of sound sources in the reverberation room are compared to simulation results of a comparable generic double panel system excited by an ideal diffuse sound field. It is shown that the number of statistically independent noise sources acting on the primary structure of the double panel system depends not only on the type of diffuse sound field but also on the sample lengths of the processed signals. The experimental results show that the number of reference sensors required for a defined control performance exhibits an inverse relationship to control filter length.

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